In the corners of my mind I can recall a card I received as a child from some well-meaning person that read something like this:
God thinks you’re special, and so do I.
Does he really? Think I’m special?
The idea that God might single any one of us out for extra attention is vaguely comforting. And there are certainly times when we feel a bit extraordinary:
- When we achieve something important
- When we acquire something significant
- When things simply go our way
But for all of those times there are as many, if not more, occasions to feel decidedly un-special. Ordinary. Impossible to tell apart from anyone else. And consequently maybe even a little overlooked.
After all, out of several billion people on this planet what’s so special about any one of us? That question rings loudest in the “other” seasons:
- When we fail to achieve something important (or someone else achieves something even more important)
- When we lose something significant
- When things simply don’t go our way
In times like these, we face the gut-wrenching suspicion that maybe we’re not that special after all.
One author, in an effort to convince us that we’re each very exceptional in God’s eyes wrote, “If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.”*
That’s nice. But some of us wonder when we hear that, which picture? The one of me smiling at church on Sunday? Or the one of me losing my temper with my teenager on Monday?
(Also, my refrigerator is stainless steel – so I can’t put a magnet on it or it just falls off. Some of us wonder if God’s fridge is like that too: he puts our picture up there, but the minute we screw up it falls back off.)
So what’s the deal: are we special, or not?
Yes we are. As tempting as it may be to believe, God doesn’t look at us as we look at ants: as a mass of scurrying creatures, each indistinguishable from the others.
He sees you as special. God has the unique ability to see you and each of the 7 billion other people on this planet as singularly wonderful. He knows each of us by name. He saw you slay that job interview and stumble in that relationship. And he can love you well without comparing you to anyone else.
Jesus says he has even numbered the very hairs on our head (Matthew 10:30). (If you’re bald, don’t worry: you’re still special – I’m pretty sure it’s more of a word picture.)
God may not have a Kenmore with your picture on it, but he does have a plan with your name on it. And all of your succeeding and stopping short – your doing well and ending up disappointed – can’t change that.
God thinks you’re special. And so do I. Maybe we should both act like it.
*I believe this quote can be attributed to Max Lucado, but I can’t be certain.